There is no minimum amount of debt that you need to have. If you are stressed out about your debt, that is enough. You could also owe a low amount and be sued over it.

Most likely you should file in the location that you have spent the greater portion of time the past 180 days either operating a business or living. Other factors may play a part and you should speak with a knowledgeable local bankruptcy attorney about your situation.

If your bankruptcy didn’t result in a discharge of your debts, most likely you can file again right away. Depending on what happened in that case and what orders the judge made, you might have to wait a while to file.

If you received a bankruptcy discharge you will have to wait 2 to 8 years from your previous filing date depending on the chapter that was filed.

Speak with a knowledgeable local bankruptcy lawyer about your situation as there are many factors to consider and be aware of.

Chapter 7: Often called the liquidation chapter, chapter 7 is used by individuals, partnerships, or corporations who have no hope for repairing their financial situation. In chapter 7 asset cases, the debtor’s estate is liquidated under the rules of the bankruptcy code. Liquidation is the process through which the debtor’s non-exempt property is sold for cash by a trustee and the proceeds are distributed to creditors.

Chapter 11: Often called the reorganization chapter, chapter 11 allows corporations, partnerships, and some individuals to reorganize, without having to liquidate all assets. In filing a chapter 11, the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the court, will allow the debtor to reorganize personal, financial or business affairs and again become a financially productive individual or business.

Chapter 13: An individual with a regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debt can be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of future income to the bankruptcy court trustee for payment to creditors. If the court approves the plan, the debtor will be under the court’s protection while repaying such debts.

More information regarding the difference between chapters can be found in the Bankruptcy Basics Manual.

The main advantage is that it gives you a fresh start by discharging (erasing) most of your debts and it is quick. A chapter 7 is usually over in four to six months. There is no payment plan and most filers have no unprotected assets so nothing is paid out to the creditors.

A chapter 13 will allow you to catch up on your mortgage and save your home. You can also save your car by catching up on those payments. Some debts that are not discharged in a chapter 7 will be discharged in a chapter 13. If you earn too much money to qualify for a chapter 7, you can usually file a chapter 13 and make monthly payments. It will also protect third parties, like a co-signer or non-filing spouse.

You can but it won’t go away without taking the added step of filing a lawsuit within the bankruptcy case. Depending on your circumstances this might be a good idea or it might be a waste of time.

Yes, if it isn’t priority debt it will go away and be discharged with your other debts. A priority debt is anything that became due within the past three years or wasn’t assessed within the past two years.

If you didn’t file a tax return it will not be removed. You also can’t discharge payroll taxes and most non-income tax.

The court prints the name of the trustee in Chapters 7, 12, or 13 bankruptcy cases on the Notice of Bankruptcy, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines. You may obtain the trustee’s name by accessing the court’s Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) or through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).  The name of the trustee is also accessible via the public terminals in all divisional offices or you may call the  divisional office where the case is pending or was closed.